Steve Hawthorne, director of the prayer ministry Waymakers, offers interesting insights about the event we call Palm Sunday, which this year is celebrated on April 1.
He notes that in the days leading up to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus had “instigated a movement of hope throughout the towns and villages of the entire region” as He performed miracles and answered prayers.
By the time He rode into Jerusalem to shouts of praise, “the whole city was stirred and [people] asked ‘Who is this?'” (Matt. 21:20).
For several days after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus taught at the temple, and “all the people hung on his words” (Luke 19:48).
By the end of the week, of course, the Lord’s adversaries had him arrested and crucified. But Scripture says the arrest occurred during the dark of the night, “because [Jesus' enemies] were afraid of the people” (Luke 22:2).
In his Lenten-season prayer guide, Seek God for the City, Hawthorne notes:
1) “Palm Sunday shines as prophetic picture of the spiritual awakening Christ desires to bring [in communities everywhere]”; and
2) “Whenever there has been revival, it has been a partial fulfillment of the promise of Palm Sunday.”
To help pastors, Sunday School teachers, and small-group leaders explain the significance of Palm Sunday, Waymakers has posted background information here, along with three sermon suggestions.
Use the audio player below to listen to a 12-minute excerpt of Steve Hawthorne teaching about Palm Sunday and Holy Week. He was recorded in 2008 at Christ Church in Austin, Texas, a congregation associated with the Anglican Church in North America. (Player won’t work? Click here.)
Steve Hawthorne holds a Masters degree from the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary. With Graham Kendrick, he is the co-author of Prayerwalking: Praying On-Site with Insight.
A Palm Sunday prayer: “Father, we pray for spiritual awakening and shouts of praise here, as Jesus enters our city with His presence and power. Stir people to ask, ‘Who is this?’ — that we might proclaim to them the One who is the way, the truth, and the life.”
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